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The Keys to Life

The Colors of the Rainbow - Rabbi Zamir Cohen

What message is conveyed through the Colors of the Rainbow?

The Colors of the Rainbow - Rabbi Zamir Cohen

When we examine the correlation between the colors and the system of judgment versus kindness that exists in the world, we can begin to understand why G-d decided to create an allusion for people that implies He will always fulfill His promise and never destroy the world with another flood, despite their evil actions. He chooses to do so by showing a giant rainbow spread above them across the sky. As it says,

I have set My rainbow in the cloud, and it should be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall happen, when I place a cloud over the earth, and the bow will be seen in the cloud, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and every living being among all flesh, and the water shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.[1]

Even though the appearance of a rainbow is a natural phenomenon, the timing in which it presents itself is not coincidental. Divine intervention facilitates the necessary conditions for the formation of a rainbow. This is done only at a time when anger and rage prevail in the heavens resulting from the evil actions of man. It’s to let people know that the attribute of judgment was supposed to rule, but was replaced by the attribute of mercy and kindness. This takes place in the merit of the Divine promise—that there will never be another flood again.

The sequence of the colors represents the gradual easing of judgments in the spiritual world at that very moment. From red, which alludes to din (justice), to blue, which alludes to kindness in the respective order of the spheres. The impressively breathtaking appearance of a rainbow in the sky is meant to convey a message to people regarding their sorrowful spiritual state of that time, and awakens them to return from their evil ways—especially from the sin of sexual immodesty (shemirat kedushat habrit).

Sexual Immodesty and the Flood

The main reason for the flood was the breach of the covenant (as in, the brit, or area of circumcision), as it says, “For all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth.”[2] The generation of the flood exercised extreme permissiveness, as it is stated in the Talmud.[3] This was especially in how they established relationships, as it says in the teachings of our sages, “The generation of the flood was wiped off the earth because they wrote marriage contracts between two men.”[4]

It’s horrifying to think that the people who pride themselves nowadays as having this deficiency have adopted the colors of the rainbow as a flag representing the acts of sodomy they perform. There’s an important clue in the word “HIV” (human immunodeficiency virus), which was created by Divine intervention to prevent this kind of permissiveness today. It corresponds to the famous Hebrew acronym HY”V, which stands for “Hashem yishmerehu veyechayehu—G-d will protect and sustain him.” These words convey the opposite of the above virus. It is a clear illustration of, “G-d has made one correspond to the other.”[5]

The power of choice is in the hands of man—to either remember the sin that caused the flood through the colors of the rainbow, or turn them into a flag displaying the sin of the flood; to live a good and healthy life according to the instructions of the Creator, or enter into a dangerous territory in which the person compromises his defenses and lives a life of misery in this world and the next.[6]

In this way, they will be protected by the truth and not only by virtue of G-d’s merciful promise.

Notes and Sources

[1] Bereishit 9:13–15. Read the story in Ketubot 77b of Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi upon his visit to the sanctuary of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in the upper Garden of Eden.

[2] Bereishit 6:12.

[3] Sanhedrin 108b.

[4] Vayikra Rabbah 23.

[5] Kohelet 7:14.

[6] The full-length response is available in my book Q&A Nezer Kohen, Even HaEzer, siman 5.

Adapted from "The Keys to Life" by Rabbi Zamir Cohen